Maharashtra environment minister Ramdas Kadam has asked dairies to start implementing the recollection and recycling mechanism of plastic milk packets, and is in no mood to relent. He has given 15 days’ time to dairies to come up with a buy-back mechanism for plastic packets.
Setting the deadline on May 28, Kadam had asked dairies to start a buyback mechanism for the plastic pouches and set up collection centres. It was his third such deadline since March 2018.
State environment department officials said a review meeting was chaired by Kadam with Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) officials and representative of dairies in the state. “The dairies had suggested some alternative mechanism for collection and recycling of milk pouches. One of the proposals was to set up various centres at strategic locations for collection of milk pouches,” Kadam stated.
The minister argued that if milk pouches do not have any value, people may not return them. So the state government has asked dairies to start a depository scheme of 50 paise per pouch for recollection and recycling immediately. Shripad Chitale, who represented the dairy owners at the meeting, reconfirmed the government’s decision on deadline. The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has also called for a meeting on June 24 to discuss recycling of plastic, he said. “A date has not been decided yet for a meeting of dairies to discuss this issue and come up with a plan,” Chitale said. Some of the dairy owners, who refused to be named, said it would not be possible for dairies to keep track of milk packets, and they might not come up with any plan. He said they were willing to wait and watch the situation and see how the situation unfolds. Even milk major Amul has called this an impractical idea.
The environment minister also held a meeting with plastic water bottle manufacturers to review their recollection and recycling mechanism. “It has been more than a year but the manufacturers are recycling approximately only up to 40 % bottles. It should be 100%. The government plans to issue show-cause notices to bottle manufacturers,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Milk Producers and Processors Welfare Association has decided to increase the price of cow milk by `2 per litre. Dairies sell one litre packaged milk at Rs 42 as of now. “We are purchasing one litre milk at Rs 25. Since the state government has stopped giving the subsidy of Rs 3, per litre, dairies are bearing the additional cost from April. This has prompted the price revision,” Vinayak Patil, president of the association said. Since the past few months, dairy farmers have been paid between Rs 23 and Rs 25, per litre. Now, the association has demanded that the price be increased to Rs 30, per litre. Thousands of milk farmers are facing losses due to significant hike in fodder prices.The drought has made matters worse.
Dairies are demanding an additional subsidy of Rs 5 per litre from the government at least for next three months. Katraj Dairy is expected to take a decision on price hike on June 25 at its board meeting.